Health professionals were not the only people shocked at the announcement on many news outlets that women living in El Salvador, as well as other countries where Zika virus has been prevalent, should avoid getting pregnant for at least two years. It is likely that young women and mothers worldwide had never heard a warning so dire about planning their families.
As a feared mosquito-borne virus, Zika is known to cause microcephaly in newborns whose mothers are affected. The condition results in an abnormally small head and is associated with incomplete brain development.
Zika virus is an emerging, mosquito-borne virus, transmitted via Aedes mosquitos. It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. PAHO anticipates that Zika virus will continue to spread and will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.
As this emerging health crisis becomes front page news, SBCC efforts will no doubt ramp up to meet the need to communicate about how to prevent and treat this virus.
The Health COMpass has created a “Trending Topic” to share the tools and communication materials which may help in your own efforts to respond to the Zika Virus crisis.